Saturday, July 18, 2009

summer roommate

I swore to myself that I wouldn't write about how much I seriously hate my summer roommate, but it's either that or her body washes up near Point Richmond. (Which is an oddly popular body dumping site, btw. I feel like it should have its own twitter channel.)

So. I'm about to start listing all the ways S.R. annoys me when I realized that I've sort of forgotten how to blog. Right now I'm avoiding a paper on Emily Dickinson, which is really just a paper on a single poem by Emily Dickinson, which actually boils down to one word and two punctuation mark revisions in a poem by Emily Dickinson. And that I can write about, which makes me infinitely sad. Because whether or not God is the "further" of ourselves or the "maker" of ourselves, and what that says about Emily's subversive atheism, is so, so, less important than how much olive oil my roommate steals from me.

But wait! I have to talk about this guy's paper! He lives in Berkeley and so we carpool. He's very groovy in class and so I had this idea that he was this "my life is organized" brainiac. Only with a sensitive side. But no, he's a total fuckup and he spent last weekend basically begging me to write his damn paper for him. He didn't phrase it that way. He phrased it, "Let me buy you a glass of wine and we can meet and discuss my paper," and several variations on that theme. Until I started deleting his voicemails without listening. He wrote seven drafts of a five-page paper, then made me listen to him read it on our commute to class. All this and yet...he refused to follow three different important instructions. This is what makes me crazy about people. How hard is it to use a standard margin size and not quote outside sources? Ugh, whatever, back to my roommate.

She steals olive oil. And she leaves stuff lying around, in exactly the same place, untouched, for weeks. She has this ugly hipster friend who is smelly and spends the night a lot. At one point I loaned her some Neosporin, then told her I'd leave it out on the bathroom cabinet for her in case she needed it again the next day. A week later I saw it in the cabinet on her shelf. And the next day I heard her offer it to her friend. In other words, she appropriates. (Why so much Neosporin? They formed a girl band named Pissy, they rehearse in our backyard, and they get blisters from their guitar strings. Heavy sigh.) Try to forget about the awesome band name for a second and focus on my pain.

And if she does something that normal people would apologize for, like burn the bottom of my nonstick pan, she simply disappears for several days hoping the whole incident will be forgotten. In fact, she never communicates about anything. Paying the rent five days late? No problem! There's really no need to mention something as silly as that.

Okay, but here's the real issue: her passive-agressive non-communication style forces me to look into the abyss of my own communication shortcomings. In my lifetime, even in recent memory, even this summer, I've been her so many times.

Which brings me to Christina. Christina is my real roommate. The roommate of serenity and joy and long conversations about zombies over morning coffee in the kitchen. Christina is someone I can pee in front of, someone who explains how she talked her boyfriend into a tricky new sex move, someone who eats spaghetti-o's and knows what it's like to grow up in a small town, and who discusses Edward Said and who gets me, really really gets me. Christina is the most amazing woman I've ever met. Because she knows how to do what none of us mere mortals have really mastered: communicate.

When she first moved in, she asked me every stupid question a roommate could concoct, including, "Do you think it would be okay if I used some of your pet stain removal to clean up my dog's vomit from your rug?" She asked permission for everything. "Can I put my coffee maker on the counter?" "Can I give your dog some peanut butter?" She wore me down with her insane politeness, until Christina could do absolutely anything, including use five gallons of my olive oil, and I wouldn't object.

Lisa thinks I love Christina because of Christina's intrinsic awesomeness. And there's a lot to be said for that theory -- Wendy developed an instant girl crush on her, she's that charming. But I think there's more to it than that. Because Christina could do all of the same things S.R. has done (including let her best friend accidentally lock me out of my house) and I wouldn't care. I mean, I love Christina, foibles and all. And part of that is just how much fun she is and how kind and how nice she is to me. But most of it is how fucking up front she is. She sort of wears you down with communication until you can't resist. You know how it's supposed to be easier to get forgiveness than permission? Christina taught me how obviously wrong that is. Much, much easier to get permission.

And when she comes back, I'm going to -- well, not do anything weird with olive oil, because that would pretty much ruin our friendship -- but I'm going to do something nice like buy her and her friends a package of Neosporin.

1 comment:

Wayfarer said...

Gosh, I think I'm about to fall for Christina. In the meantime you are cracking me up.